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Food Co-op 500 Announces New Legal Primer for Start-up Food Cooperatives

Washington, DC (July 1, 2008) — Food Co-op 500 announces the release of The Legal Primer: Formation of Consumer-Owned Food Cooperatives, a new guide to legal issues related to the incorporation and development of consumer-owned food cooperatives. The 70-page publication covers many aspects of the development of a food cooperative, including topics like timing of incorporation, choices for business structure, governance flexibility, legal responsibilities and bylaws, and securities registration, among others.

“This legal primer is the first-of-its-kind, geared specifically for new food cooperatives, covering many legal aspects of the creation of these member-owned organizations, from idea inception to reality,” stated Richard Dines, Program Manager for the Food Co-op 500 and Vice President for Mission Banking of NCB. “This publication is just another step to increase the number of food cooperatives in the U.S. to 500 in 10 years.”

Since Food Co-op 500 launched at the end of 2005, it has awarded over $200,000 to 19 start-up food co-ops across the country.  The program is a collaboration of NCB, NCB Capital Impact, National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA), and Cooperative Development Services (CDS), and provides funding for new food co-op projects through its Seed and Sprout Funds, and technical assistance through the work of Stuart Reid, a consultant specializing in new food co-op start-ups.  The Seed Fund helps potential cooperatives in the early stages of organization, through funding by The Blooming Prairie Foundation and NCB.  The Sprout Fund provides capital during the middle and late stages of development through loans provided by NCB and NCB Capital Impact. The money from both funds must be matched in equal dollars by the newly-forming cooperative. Technical assistance is provided through funding by NCGA, NCB Capital Impact, and Cooperative Development Services.

Other funding supporters of the Food Co-op 500 program include Organic Valley, Equal Exchange, Frontier Natural Products Cooperative and the Bowers Fund for Consumer Cooperatives of the Cooperative Development Foundation.

The Legal Primer: Formation of Consumer-Owned Food Cooperatives, was made possible through pro bono contributions by cooperative attorney Joel Dahlgren and colleagues at the Stoel-Rives law firm, as well as the financial support of Food Co-op 500, Cooperative Development Services, and funding provided by the USDA Rural Cooperative Development Grant program, through a grant provided to Cooperative Development Services.

The legal primer is available free of charge, and can be downloaded from www.foodcoop500.coop.

As a full-service financial institution, NCB provides term loans, lines of credit, commercial and residential mortgages, construction loans, lease financing, private placements and personal and business banking products. In addition, the Bank offers an array of other business banking products via its secure, online cash management platform, including Real Time Deposit, NCB’s remote deposit capture product allowing businesses to efficiently deposit checks via remote scanning services operated at the business’ location. The Bank is also a member of CDARS network, providing customers with a single source for FDIC insurance on CDs up to $50 million.

NCB means National Consumer Cooperative Bank, its subsidiaries and NCB Capital Impact, an affiliated non-profit corporation.  Loans and technical assistance may be provided by NCB, NCB Capital Impact or NCB, FSB, all of which are Equal Housing Lenders.  NCB, FSB is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NCB.  Deposit products and services are provided by NCB, FSB, which is FDIC insured.  Housing development services are offered through NCB and NCB Capital Impact’s jointly owned subsidiary, NCB Community Works, LLC.

NCB is dedicated to strengthening communities nationwide through the delivery of banking and financial services, complemented by a special focus on cooperative expansion and economic development. Headquartered in Washington, DC, NCB also has offices in Alaska, California, New York and Virginia. In addition, NCB has a growing community banking network in southwestern Ohio. To learn more about NCB, visit www.ncb.coop.